Hardware synthesizers come in many shapes and sizes, but as a very general rule, those packing a keyboard usually have the keys out front and a control panel up top. Not so the Digitone Keys, where the keyboard sits to the right of the synth control panel.

"We designed Digitone Keys to grant instant access to its stellar FM sound engine," said Jon Mårtensson Elmrud of Sweden's Elektron. ""Whether it's about creating sounds or playing them, the creative tactility offered by Digitone Keys makes the workflow very fluent and flexible. More performance oriented. We are very proud of this black monolith, and would like to regard it as a true link between our world and the equally surreal and recognizable world of FM synthesis."

The digital synthesizer is built around Elektron's Digitone FM sound engine for eight voice polyphony, with a multimode filter, base-width filter, overdrive and two assignable low frequency oscillators per voice. It features eight user-assignable rotary encoders, an OLED display, and 37-key velocity- and pressure-sensitive keys with aftertouch and mod/pitch wheels for all your expression needs.

As well as overdrive, players can dial in reverb, delay and chorus effects, there's a built-in sequencer and arpeggiator, and 24-bit/48 kHz digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters.

Connectivity is served up by two main output jacks, eight track output jacks, two audio input jacks, two CV/expression/sustain jacks, MIDI in/out/thru and a USB 2.0 ports.

Elektron reports that the first batch of Digitone Keys has sold out, but a second run can be pre-ordered now for US$1,299. If you want to have a look before parting with your cash, the device can be seen at Superbooth 2019 in Berlin, Germany, until May 11.

Product page: Digitone Keys

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